Strange Horizons “A Chromepunk Anthology,” by M. Bennardo

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"A Chromepunk Anthology," by M. Bennardo

"A Chromepunk Anthology," by M. Bennardo, delivers what the title promises. It's a series of loosely connected stories about people turned into motorized vehicles, from "Ignition" to "Combustion" to "Clutch" to "Exhaust." Each mini-story thematically matches its title, and there's an overarching theme of the relentless advance of technology–that no matter how advanced something may be, given just a few years, it will become obsolete.

The mini-stories are all fairly interesting (I liked "Combustion" and especially "Exhaust"), but on the whole, the pieces never come together. The choice to publish them at once creates an expectation that each story will add something to the others. In this case, though, every mini-story is just as well read in isolation, and indeed they might have been more effective that way, since the expectation of continuity would not have been created and then denied.